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BMW i4 All-Electric Vehicle Enters Production at Munich Plant, Delivery to Start in 2022

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BMW i4 All-Electric Vehicle Enters Production at Munich Plant, Delivery to Start in 2022

BMW has announced that it has entered its all-electric i4 model into production at its plant in Munich. The next-generation SUV is set to hit the market sometime in Spring next year. The Munich plant is where the multinational automaker builds multiple models, including combustion-powered and plug-in hybrid BMW 3 Series, BMW M3, and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. BMW said at least half of all cars rolling out of the plant will be electric vehicles by 2023.

The production of different models at a single plant — which is almost 100 years old — poses its own difficulties. It requires flexibility and a lot of integration into existing production structures. This costs BMW around EUR 200 million (roughly Rs. 1,747 crore).

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“Setting up production of the fully electric BMW i4 in the confines of the almost 100-year-old plant, the conversion and installation of systems proved particularly challenging,” said BMW’s Munich plant director Peter Weber.

“Our bodyshop is a shining example of intelligent, efficient integration. Most of the new production processes for the BMW i4 can be carried out on the existing bodyshop systems.”

However, BMW says the i4’s architecture systems are 90 percent the same when compared to conventional ones, except for the electric drive and high-voltage battery. The battery pack is now bolted onto the body by a new, fully automated battery assembly system, which is equipped with high-resolution cameras to ensure there are no impurities that could cause damage.

“For the plant and team, the launch of the BMW i4 is a milestone on the road to electric mobility. By 2023 more than half of all vehicles from our Munich facility will have an electrified drive. The majority will be fully electric. So, Munich goes fully electric,” said BMW production board member Milan Nedeljković.

The BMW website states that the i4 comes equipped with a new Flexible Fast Charger. “This portable device, compatible with any 120V or 240V outlet, delivers optimised charging wherever you go. Charge from 0–100 percent in under 9 hours at a 240V outlet.”

In the US, BMW i4 will be available at a starting price of $56,395 (roughly Rs. 42.32 lakh) and is likely to have an EPA range of 300 miles (482km).


It’s a John Cena double-header this week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, as we discuss The Suicide Squad, and later, Fast & Furious 9 (from 28:03). Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Mahindra Says to Explore Sourcing More Components From Other Companies to Boost EV Portfolio

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India’s Mahindra and Mahindra will explore sourcing more components from other companies to boost its electric vehicle (EV) portfolio, its chief executive told Reuters.

Anish Shah said Mahindra had over time focussed on developing EV components in-house, but now changed tack to forge partnerships to achieve faster growth in the segment.

Mahindra last week signed a partnership agreement with Volkswagen in which it will explore equipping its electric cars with motors, battery system components and cells made by the German automaker.

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“The world is moving towards a lot more partnerships. It’s better to source the best that’s out there, rather than do everything ourselves,” Shah said in an interview at the World Economic Forum summit at Davos.

“It’s VW (Volkswagen) at this stage and as we see similar strengths in other areas, we are open to looking at various components that we would bring in, and do what we are very good at in-house as well,” he added.

Although Mahindra is placing big bets on developing its EV portfolio, it will face fierce competition from India’s Tata Motors in a country where the clean mobility sector is picking up fast.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is offering companies billions of dollars in incentives to build EVs, as India looks to meet its climate change and carbon reduction goals.

India’s EV market represents only 1 percent of the country’s annual sales of about 3 million vehicles, with consumers still opting for fuel-guzzling cars that are far more affordable.

Tata dominates India’s EV market and last year raised $1 billion (roughly Rs. 7,754 crore) from TPG for the business. MG, which is owned by China’s SAIC Motor, also has plans to raise funds to develop its EV business.

Shah said Mahindra will use “significant funds” for EVs and had them available, adding: “We always will be open to value creation opportunities”.

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Mahindra has developed a portfolio of EV commercial vehicles in India, but the latest push is focussed on passenger cars, and more particularly, sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

“Our strike zone has been authentic SUVs, that’s where we are going to stay … we are not going to make EV sedans, no hatchbacks,” Shah said.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


Should you pick Vivo over Galaxy S22 and OnePlus 10 Pro? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Elon Musk Harassment Claim, Criticism of Democrats Threatens Tesla Brand: Report

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Elon Musk has made a name for himself and Tesla by breaking the rules, but the billionaire’s latest comments on politics and a claim of sexual harassment against him that he said is untrue may hurt the brand in the eyes of some car owners and employees.

Musk on Thursday denied a report by Business Insider that he sexually harassed a flight attendant on a private jet in 2016, calling the person who made the claim a liar.

The previous day, the Tesla chief executive, in the midst of a contentious effort to buy Twitter, said he would now vote Republican instead of Democrat and called the Democrats a “party of division and hate.”

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Tesla also was cut this week from the widely followed S&P 500 ESG Index, which an index executive said was due to issues including claims of racial discrimination within the company and crashes linked to its vehicles.

Musk responded by calling such ratings around environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues a “scam,” and questioned how the index could drop an electric car firm while adding oil and gas producers.

Tesla could not immediately be reached to comment.

While Musk has made attention-grabbing headlines before — once calling one critic a “pedo guy” on Twitter — the latest controversies again raise the question whether his outspokenness will tarnish his likeability. And — since Musk is so closely tied to Tesla — whether that will that hurt the carmaker’s sales, especially in California.

The left-leaning state is Tesla’s largest market, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the company’s US retail registrations last year, according to Experian data. Tesla sales in California were up almost 70 percent in the year and it had a 6.5 percent share of all vehicles in the state, according to the California New Car Dealers Association.

#BoycottTesla was trending on Twitter on Friday and several people claimed they were canceling their car orders.

“In the past, I admired him for working to build a green business that’s transformational in energy use. But he is sadly becoming divisive as an attention seeking troll and I no longer trust that he is dedicated to the quality of his products. I will cancel my Tesla order,” said J Yeh, a Twitter user who describes herself as a lawyer who has lived in several cities including Los Angeles.

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“You lost a potential customer,” a Twitter user named Ute Bauer from Germany said, adding in German: “To anyone reading this, cancel your orders.”

Reuters was unable to confirm if any Tesla orders had been canceled.

Many institutional investors may stand by Musk no matter what given the company’s strong performance, but that doesn’t mean some aren’t frustrated.

“They’re doing a lot of good things,” said Taylor Ogan, CEO of Snow Bull Capital, which owns Tesla shares. “It’s just disappointing when that is tainted by Elon Musk’s antics. Elon Musk is the best thing for Tesla and the worst thing for Tesla.”

One Tesla employee, who asked not to be identified, voiced frustration that Musk’s efforts outside Tesla appeared to be hurting the carmaker’s stock. “The company needs to do something to address the issue,” he said.

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On Friday, Tesla shares dropped almost 9 percent, knocking about $66 billion (roughly Rs. 5,12,229 crore) off of Tesla’s stock market value and putting the stock at its lowest level since last August, with analysts citing “distraction risks” from the Twitter deal. Musk assured people on Thursday Tesla was constantly on his mind.

If discussion around water coolers at work focused on the sexual harassment claim against Musk rather than Tesla products, the end result could be “corrosive” for the Tesla brand, said John Smith, a former group vice president at GM who ran global product planning.

Tesla and SpaceX employees also could become “a little bit rattled and angry” because of Musk’s anti-Democratic party comments as technology company staff in California tend to be more liberal, said Jason Stomel, founder of tech talent agency Cadre.

Bill Nelson, administrator of NASA, which relies on Musk’s SpaceX to fly its astronauts to space, told Reuters on Thursday that Musk has a strong team of executives at the spacecraft maker and the agency’s partnership with the company was “going without a hitch.”

And Musk still has plenty of fans online. Twitter user @JVega103 said he was a Republican who owned a Tesla and just signed up for Tesla solar panels. “Thanks for everything you do,” the user tweeted.

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That left some industry observers wondering whether Musk and Tesla would simply shake off these latest controversies, as they have in the past.

“Is Elon Musk now crazy, or crazy like a fox? He has earned the benefit of the doubt as he is often playing chess when the rest of us are playing checkers,” Northwestern University professor Erik Qualman said. “As Musk himself on ‘Saturday Night Live’ famously stated, ‘What, did you think I would be normal?’”

© Thomson Reuters 2022


Should you pick Vivo over Galaxy S22 and OnePlus 10 Pro? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Hyundai to Build First EV and Battery Manufacturing Unit in Georgia in 2023, Plans to Invest $5.54 Billion

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South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group said on Friday it plans to invest about $5.54 billion (roughly Rs. 43,110 crore) to build its first dedicated full electric vehicle (EV) and battery manufacturing facilities in the United States.

Hyundai will break ground on its new facility in Georgia in early 2023 and is expected to begin commercial production in the first half of 2025 with an annual capacity of 300,000 EV units, the company said in a statement.

The South Korean auto group said it intends to create about 8,100 jobs.

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Hyundai Motor Group, which houses Hyundai and Kia, added that the battery manufacturing facility will be established through a strategic partnership, details of which will be disclosed at a later stage.

Reuters reported last week that Hyundai was in talks to build an EV manufacturing plant in the United States and had held discussions with Georgia officials.

The plant is a key part of Hyundai’s $7.4 billion (roughly Rs. 57,585 crore) planned investment in the United States through 2025 to foster future mobility. The state of Georgia expects to attract another $1 billion (roughly Rs. 7,780 crore) in additional investment from non-affiliated Hyundai Motor Group suppliers on top of the investment.

Hyundai’s battery supplier, SK Innovation’s battery unit SK On, has built two adjacent plants in Georgia. The first, which mostly supplies Volkswagen, started production in the first quarter. The second, which will supply Ford Motor, is set to begin production early next year.

SK On will supply the battery for the Ioniq 7, a source previously told Reuters. SK On said it cannot comment on supply deals involving specific customers.

Hyundai’s US investment coincides with US President Biden’s arrival in South Korea on Friday.

The South Korean auto group, which is among the world’s five biggest automakers by vehicle sales, has production sites in Alabama and Georgia. In April, Hyundai Motor said it plans to invest $300 million (roughly Rs. 2,330 crore) to add EVs in its Montgomery assembly.

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Separately, Hyundai Motor Group said Wednesday it plans to invest KRW 21 trillion (roughly Rs. 1,28,300 crore) through 2030 for the expansion of its EV business in South Korea.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


Should you pick Vivo over Galaxy S22 and OnePlus 10 Pro? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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